Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

An Introduction to U2

My friend Matt recently got an iPod and along with that iPod came the whole catalogue of U2 songs, I understand. Although a genius in his own right, Matt is new to the world of U2, whereas I, ...I am the master.

Well, not at all. But I like the group a lot and would call them my favorite rock group since I don't know when. So being jealous of Matt's new acquisition -- the plethora of U2 songs -- I thought I would post up this introduction to their music for him and for anyone else who has picked up an iPod engraved with their signatures.



Basic stuff... their names are:

Bono* (vocals, occasional guitar or harmonica)
The Edge** (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals)
Adam Clayton (bass guitar)
Larry Mullen, Jr. (drums)

*real name: Paul Hewson
**real name: Dave Evans

...but no one knows them by their real names. Hey, it's what happens when you're cool like that.

Quick History

They formed in the late 70s, began playing punkish cover tunes but were so bad that they started to write their own songs, hehe. Their first album was "Boy" in 1980, and they launched into rock history with 1987's "The Joshua Tree"... so much that the term "This year's 'Joshua Tree'" is used to describe amazing albums in any year. Bono, Edge & Larry are Christians, and were involved in a specific church up until the mid-80s before leaving. Much of Bono's lyrics are Psalmish -- reflecting his doubts but undergirded with his return to faith in God.

Though still Chrisitans, they aren't what you'd expect, drinking & smoking and swearing. But no one can doubt their heart, especially Bono, who has crusaded for debt relief of third-world nations and has lobbied countless governments and politicians to give attention to hunger and AIDS crises in Africa. He founded an organization, DATA, for these causes. A couple years back he toured Africa with Paul O'Neill, then the U.S. Treasury Secretary, who was appalled at the conditions he witnessed and would later be dismissed from the cabinet for trying to persuade the administration to aid Ghana with a clean water project. Despite this, Bono continues his non-partisian lobby for Africa, and finds friends, willing listeners & helpers on all sides of political fences.

Ok, back to the music. Here is a list of songs I'd suggest, sort of the best of each album, or the most representative, I think. Each album has a certain sound. The Edge loves messing with sounds. Bono says that Edge isn't a rockin' guitarist, but more meditative, like Zen guitarist or something.

Songs

"Where the Streets Have No Name" is the first song on "The Joshua Tree", and was the first song of theirs I ever heard. I think it makes the greatest introduction, as its soaring urgency takes you out to the freedom of the desert... (^_^)


From "The Joshua Tree":

Where the Streets Have No Name
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
With Or Without You
Red Hill Mining Town
Running to Stand Still



From "Achtung Baby" - where they went into irony & electronica, and my favorite album (followed closely by Joshua Tree):

One
The Fly
Mysterious Ways
Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
So Cruel



From "The Unforgettable Fire":

Bad
A Sort of Homecoming
Pride (In the Name of Love)



From "Rattle & Hum" - a follow-up, half live, to Joshua Tree. I'd had this album on tape years ago, but never got it back from a high school friend, I think. But Yoko got it for me this Christmas! Thank you, Yoko! (^_^) :

Desire
Hawkmoon 269
Love Rescue Me
All I Want Is You


The next song is a kick-butt single from the "Batman Forever" soundtrack:



Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me



From "War" or "Under A Blood Red Sky" - the latter album is a live EP with some of the same songs on "War":

Sunday Bloody Sunday
New Year's Day
40



The next song is from "Passengers: Original Soundtracks 1", which was an album U2 complied of songs they did with producer Brian Eno for various small films. It also is found on the Best of 1990-2000 compilation. The song features Luciano Pavarotti!:

Miss Sarajevo



From "Zooropa" - the fastest album they ever recorded, right on the heels of "Achtung Baby". This album is even more electronic, but zaney & funkey in a video game kind of way:

Zooropa
Numb (the Edge sings this one -- well, not sings... raps?)
Stay (Faraway, So Close)



From "Best of 1980-1989" - this next song is something they originally recorded during the Joshua Tree sessions, but re-did for the release of the first "Best Of" album:

The Sweetest Thing



From Grammy-winning, "All That You Can't Leave Behind"

Grace
Beautiful Day
Kite
Walk On



From the newest album, "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb":

Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
Vertigo
City of Blinding Lights
A Man and a Woman
Yahweh

*****

Albums

I don't remember all the years they came out, but here are U2's albums as I know them:

Boy (1980) (best song, "I Will Follow")
October (generally considered weakest album, but song "October" is beautiful)
War
Under A Blood Red Sky (live EP)
The Unforgettable Fire
Wide Awake in America (EP - 2 studio, 2 live songs)
The Joshua Tree (1987)
Rattle & Hum (1988)
Achtung Baby (1991)
Zooropa
Passengers: Original Soundtracks 1 (with Brian Eno)
Pop
Best of 1980-1989
All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000)
Best of 1990-2000
How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb (2004)

*****

That's the end! Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or a favorite song! U2 has been a musical & spiritual blessing to me, and I pray for their faith and for their love to be infectious. (^_^) Oh, and here's their website: www.u2.com

9 Comments:

  • At January 06, 2005 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ramone,
    Thanks for the post. I am sorry to let you down, but the U2 iPod did not come with all the U2 music. There might me some place online where I can download it (perhaps with a discount, but don't quote me). I do like the songs I've heard, but I've got a lot of catching up tp do. Sounds like your love for U2 is as strong as mine is for the Dave Matthews Band.
    Matt

     
  • At January 06, 2005 10:14 AM, Blogger Ramone said…

    Well,

    Don't I feel silly! Haha, but on the other hand, I feel better -- that I'm not missing out by not getting an iPod! Hehehe.

    Hey, but if you want to borrow, Matt, I've got:

    Achtung Baby
    The Joshua Tree
    Rattle & Hum
    Zooropa
    The Unforgettable Fire
    All That You Can't Leave Behind
    How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

    and that single, "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me",

    On cassette tape I also have the single, "One", and the album "Under A Blood Red Sky".

     
  • At January 06, 2005 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, pretty good summary. I have to admit I haven't really kept up with U2 since Zooropa. Personally my favorite is song is Pride, but if I had to pick an album I'd say Achtung Baby too. Reading those descriptions brought back a lot of memories!

    Reuben

     
  • At January 10, 2005 4:39 PM, Blogger Ramone said…

    "Yahweh" -- that is something that came into my mouth, out of my lips, before I knew what I was singing. What an amazing word. You know it's a holy word, even if you didn't know what it meant.

    - Bono, from Rolling Stone interview, Dec.2004

     
  • At January 11, 2005 12:29 AM, Blogger DM said…

    Do you find U2's personal politics to be inconflict with your pilgrimage to help others become fulfilled in Jesus?

     
  • At January 11, 2005 12:56 PM, Blogger Ramone said…

    Hi Dick,

    Thanks for your question. In answer, I actually haven't run into that problem.

    Politically speaking, you might say that I'm rather proud of Bono, since he's decided to lay aside political "sides" and just work for the people of Africa. There are times when *I* would be irritated at one side or the other, but Bono would stay focused on the people who needed help.

    For me, that is quite a lesson. So often in the world we fight against one another, but the Father's heart is for each and every one of us. Jesus gave His life not only for us who love Him, but also for our enemies and those who oppose us. God's vision is so different from ours -- He sees so much more than we do, and His love is so much larger than ours.

    I want my prayer to be, "Father, help me see things from Your eyes. Quiet me and still me to receive Your heart, Your heart for the people You gave Your Son for."

    And I can't think of anything greater than to help someone else come to Jesus and learn to desire to see with His eyes and through His heart.

     
  • At January 30, 2005 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great article, just one note, Edge's real name is Dave Evans, not Bob Evans.

     
  • At January 31, 2005 3:55 PM, Blogger Ramone said…

    Haha! Yes, I'd noticed that in a Rolling Stone interview or something, but couldn't remember how I'd heard "Bob" in my memory so authoritatively, so I figured I'd just leave it. Isn't "Bob" more funny, though? I mean, for such a serious-looking guy as Edge (who underneath, I think, is a wonderfully silly person like my friend Monte).

     
  • At February 14, 2005 1:18 PM, Blogger Ramone said…

    Wow... you know, when I was little I knew nothing of the world of rock, except for faint rumors of the evils that went on there. Growing up, though, I began to look into it. Yes, there were evils there, but there was also beauty. U2's Joshua Tree was the first real intro to rock and first rock album I had. I'm sitting listening to the new one now, the touching love between "Miracle Drug" and "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own"... and I'm thanking God. I could've misstepped so easily. Yeah, there's a lot of crud in the rock world (there's a lot of crud in the religious world, too, but that's not the issue here), but meeting their music was a gift from God, a taste of real beauty that would be a gift to stay with me through the years, and expand my ear & heart's capacity to appreciate His world and His children. Thanks God, thanks for passing U2 my way instead of leaving me to chance. You rock, God.

     

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